Some $45m allotted to empower women heads of households

May 21, 2022 - 16:35

TEHRAN – A total budget of 13 trillion rials (nearly $44.8 million) has been earmarked to empower women heads of households under the coverage of the Welfare Organization, the deputy head of the Organization, has said.

Last year (March 2021-March 2022), 2,000 female-headed households achieved full empowerment and independence, IRIB quoted Mohammad Nasir as saying on Thursday.

"Empowerment of female breadwinners includes providing the basis for a healthy and lasting marriage, sustainable employment, socio-cultural empowerment, family and economic independence.

Despite all the problems, with the cooperation of the parliament, government institutions, and the Welfare Organization, we were able to attract 13 trillion rials (nearly $44.8 million) of extraordinary credit for this sector, which solved the problem of resources to some extent," he explained.

The budget bill for the current Iranian calendar year (March 2022-March 2023), has increased the budget of the Welfare Organization by three folds, he highlighted, adding that nearly 10 trillion rials (about $34.4 million) will be allocated to female heads of households.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world, with no regard to social or economic status. Families, households, and particularly women, suffered a combination of economic, physical, and emotional stress.

Last year (March 2021-March 2022), 2,000 female breadwinners achieved self-sufficiency.

During the pandemic-induced lockdowns, family interactions and livelihoods were impacted. Reduction in income, business losses, having to spend increased time in closer proximity than usual, and the fact that children could attend school gave rise to tensions between family members.   

Pandemic, sanctions

Iran was among the first countries to be hard hit by COVID-19. The pandemic broke out at a time when the nation was still reeling under the impact of the unilateral economic sanctions, and this added to the pressures on daily life, particularly on women.

The participation of Iranian women in the economy post-pandemic declined. The effect of this reduction was worse among Women's Head Households (WHH) - and in low-income households headed by women, the situation was even more complicated, according to Claudio Providas, UNDP Representative in Iran. 

According to the Statistical Center of Iran, out of twenty-two (22) million families in Iran, over three (3) million are WHH and most of them are in less-developed areas. The Government prioritized such families for targeting socio-economic support.

Earlier this month, Zahra Ershadi, Iran's ambassador and deputy representative to the United Nations, has said that Iran has made significant progress in empowering women, despite U.S. illegal and inhumane sanctions.

Meanwhile, Ensieh Khazali, the vice president for women and family affairs, said in the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, that about 12,000 female heads of households underwent empowerment training and entered the traditional and virtual market.

Also, more than 1.1 million women heads of households are covered by the Relief Committee and more than 300,000 are covered by the Welfare Organization, benefiting from special support such as facilities, insurance, and livelihood services.

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